"Being named a finalist only underscores the dedication and strength these players have demonstrated all season long," said Col. Derik Crotts, Director of Strategic Communications, Marketing and Outreach, U.S. Army Accessions Command. "These players possess a similar strength to those of the American Soldier and this award reflects that."
Speed, strength, and athleticism fuel Ray Drew's game. He is a versatile defensive end who can drop into coverage and cover running backs as well as he pressures the quarterback. Drew is a max-effort player, which should translate well to the college game. As a junior, he was named his region's defensive player of the year and he was named to the All-Georgia team. Drew is currently undecided about his college choice.
Wide receiver George Farmer has track-star speed and at 6-foor-2 and nearly 200 pounds, he has the ideal size and speed combination to excel in college. Farmer uses his strength to get off press coverage and his speed and athleticism to outrun and out jump defensive backs. Last season, Farmer helped Serra to the state title and he scored three touchdowns in the first two rounds of this season's playoffs. Farmer is undecided on colleges.
It is no mistake that Hermitage High School has led its region in the fewest points allowed with linebacker Curtis Grant tracking down the football. Grant has a college-ready body, but has an excellent grasp of the mental side of the game, which helps him quickly recognize a play. He moves well sideline-to-sideline, sheds blockers and hits hard after using his speed to track down ball carriers. Grant has yet to decide on what college to attend.
Demetrius Hart may not be the biggest running back, but that does not stop coaches from wanting to get the ball into his hands. Hart runs with a low center of gravity, which allows him to avoid many big hits. He is a skilled rusher, receiver and return man with excellent field vision and a patience to use his blockers. In the first two games of the state playoffs, Hart has shined for Dr. Phillips by rushing for 500 yards and nine touchdowns. Hart has committed to the University of Michigan.
A sign of a good quarterback is the ability to keep cool and improvise, and that is one of Cody Kessler's strengths. The quarterback from Centennial is a quick-study with a strong arm. He also will pull the ball down and gain the key yards on the ground and he has more than enough arm strength to make all the throws on the move. This season, Kessler led his conference in passer rating and, in last weekend's playoff game, he accounted for 326 total yards and four touchdowns in the win. Kessler is committed to the University of Southern California.
Wide receiver Trey Metoyer's size and strength make him a special player. The 6-foot-2, 198-pounder uses his size to get off press coverage at the line and to fight for the football in traffic. Metoyer has the speed to pull away from defenders, but he is tough to tackle in the open field. This season he had 102 receptions for 1,436 yards and 23 touchdowns and even though Whitehouse lost in the first round of the playoffs, Metoyer did his part, with 15 receptions for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Metoyer has committed to the University of Oklahoma.
The Player of the Year selection process began this fall as players were evaluated by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Committee and by coaches from around the country. Past U.S. Army Player of the Year winners include: 2001 - Kevin Jones; 2002 - Lorenzo Booker; 2003 - Chris Leak; 2004 - Adrian Peterson; 2005 - Ryan Perrilloux; 2006 - Mitch Mustain; 2007 - Jimmy Clausen; 2008 - Terrelle Pryor; 2009 - Bryce Brown; and 2010 - Dillon Baxter.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is the premier high school football game in the country held each January in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The game features the best high school football players in the nation and has helped launch the careers of Adrian Peterson, Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Michael Oher, and many other college and NFL stars since its inception in 2001. Last year, the U.S. Army All-American Bowl drew more than 34,000 fans to the Alamodome and was the most watched sporting event on television over the weekend, besides the NFL Playoffs.